Internship in Wildlife Endocrinology

Learning Objectives

The Endocrinology Research Laboratory at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is the largest, most productive, and most respected wildlife laboratory in the world. It has contributed significantly to research into the biology of a vast array of species (more than 140 to date), as well as training of students, postdocs and visiting scientists (more than 150) involved in species conservation. It also is the first and largest endocrine service laboratory for wildlife species, and works with zoos in all 50 states, as well as government and non-government conservation agencies and universities. It is world-renowned for research on elephants and contributions to the discoveries of unique endocrine mechanisms and fertility challenges, as well as playing a key role in ex situ management of elephants in the United States and in range states. Staff scientists have pioneered important concepts in reproductive biology for threatened and endangered species and created new conservation tools, including noninvasive approaches for monitoring hormone profiles. Endocrine research is connected to complimentary tools in the fields of veterinary medicine, nutrition, animal husbandry, conservation physiology, population biology, and genomics and in that way is highly collaborative. 

Interns will receive training under the supervision of the Department of Reproductive Sciences staff that involves biological sample processing and analysis, record keeping, and data presentation. This internship provides a unique opportunity to learn skills pertaining to endocrinology and daily operation of a conservation-focused laboratory.

Please note: this internship does NOT involve working directly with animals.

The internship will be located at our Front Royal, Virginia campus. The selected candidate will receive dormitory-style housing on site at a minimal cost and a stipend to cover living expenses. 

The intern will receive training and mentorship to learn about:

  • Cataloging and organizing research samples
  • Crushing and weighing dried fecal samples
  • Extracting hormones from fecal samples
  • Extract hormones from hair samples
  • Conducting enzyme immunoassays to measure hormones
  • Data entry and some statistical analyses
  • Interpreting hormone data and profiles


The preferred candidates should:

  • Have completed at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework, including the equivalent of at least two semesters of laboratory work.
  • Be efficient, organized, and possess strong quantitative and computer skills (especially Excel).
  • Have good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Commit to a minimum of 40 hours/week unless other arrangements are agreed upon.
  • Be flexible when changes occur.
  • Be interested in animal conservation and research and able to engage in a team environment with staff and other interns. 
  • Complete fingerprinting and pass a federal background check.


$800 per month, plus dormitory fees


Front Royal


Housing will be provided on site for the duration of the internship, provided intern adheres to dorm rules and remains in good standing with the campus community.


Parking will be provided on the Front Royal, Virginia campus.

Term of appointment

Internship is for 6 months or longer, and scheduled to begin May 6, 2024.

Application deadline(s)



Internship Category


How to Apply

Go to: In the login box, select ‘create an account’ and complete the fields to set up your account. 

 Information that will be requested in SOLAA includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations,
  • Contact info for two references

Once you create your account and after you provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. Select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Wildlife Endocrinology Lab Internship”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA submitted application must be received by the deadlines as noted above. All candidates must submit application materials through SOLAA. Applications through any other channels will not be accepted.